CT at the Show

Kicking Off Community Source Week 2006

Sakai Vancouver

Mitchell Baker
Community Matters.

Open source enthusiasts from higher ed institutions around the world converged on Vancouver, BC, this past spring for a week of co-located conferences, including Sakai, OSP, and JA-SIG’s uPortal. Attendees of the Sakai conference heard from keynoter Mitchell Baker (pictured), "Chief Lizard Wrangler" and president of Mozilla, the technology company widely known for its Internet applications Firefox and Thunderbird. Baker’s talk was loaded with perspectives on open source. Her mantra? "The community matters."

Charles Severance
Executive Director Named.

The Sakai Foundation Board capped its conference with the announcement that University of Michigan Software Architect and high-performance computing researcher Charles Severance (pictured) would become the foundation’s executive director. Severance’s recent work has spanned Sakai, the NEESgrid project, and the NSF Middleware Initiative grid portal project.

Mike King
In a Blue Moon.

Mike King (pictured), IBM’s director of market development/education industry, detailed the company’s latest contributions to the open source community in higher ed. Software assets include SCORM Tracker, a plug-in for tracking learning materials using the standard; and a presentation converter to convert PowerPoint and Open Office presentations to SCORM objects. IBM also is expanding support for the developer community, and will provide a senior architect to the Sakai community. King talked about the potential for commercial offerings of Sakai, and touched on a plan to pilot a hosted service.

Joseph Hardin
OCW Tool for Sakai.

At one of the many concurrent sessions, University of Michigan Collaborative Technologies Laboratory Director and Sakai board Chair Joseph Hardin (pictured) described a new tool being developed to "make it possible for anybody who’s using Sakai as their collaboration and learning environment—their course management system—to easily put their materials, if they wish, in an OCW site and make them available to the world."

Chris Coppola
Commercial Support Grows.

Institutions interested in Sakai don’t have to feel limited by their internal capacity to work with open source software, because vendor support for just about any configuration is available today. rSmart introduced its own commercial Sakai CLE at the conference, and a large team provided extensive information and demos. President Chris Coppola (pictured), who also is on the board of the Sakai Foundation, summed up his enthusiasm for Sakai: "I’m proud that so many of us at rSmart are working among this amazing community of people with such an important mission and unprecedented potential to achieve it."

Demo Fest
Demo Fest.

Unicon, Elluminate, and other vendors, plus institutional developers such as Virginia Tech, Indiana University, and others, offered a mix of technical demos ranging from discipline-specific tools, quizzes, and assessment tools, to podcasting and IBM’s "Classroom of the Future" scenarios.

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